Chapter Twenty- Eight: Solving Alone

Last night wasn't very good. Maya crossed out wasn't very good in her mind and replaced it with an epic disaster. The trial was unorganized and a mess, a murder took place, Franziska was arrested and Pearl's life was put in danger. Alita Tiala had to be found and Franziska had to get her name cleared.

Nostalgia hit her. In a situation like this, Phoenix would ask her if she had any ideas. They would discuss what to do and they would head off to investigate the crime. When she worked for Franziska, they were straight there. Maya was on her own and she had her friend's old lawyer badge. She knew everyone would be shocked and advise her to stay away, but she had just as much right to help solve the murder case as anybody else.

Maya felt guilty that she hadn't spoken to Pearl since the trial. Even more now she heard that she was in danger. Pearl was her cousin, but they were more like sisters than anything else.

The police were pushing all the crowd away. Thalassa had just started to make a name for her self as a singer. She got negative press for abandoning her son and not telling the father for it and now everyone's praising her because she's dead. Paparazzi loved to stick their nose in where it shouldn't be. They don't care if it promotes or tarnishes a person's reputation. As long as people read it, they'll blend the facts and opinions then sprinkle some white lies to make the article interesting.

She didn't think of Thalassa as the type of person who would dump a child, quite the opposite. She had only met her the few times and she sounded like a lovely person. She couldn't think of anybody who would want to kill her. Apollo had a reason to be annoyed with her, but not enough to kill. She didn't know Apollo very well, but her instincts didn't tell her he could be a murderer.

Everyone had to be treated as a suspect, even those who were present in the trial. There were many possibilities to be considered. No matter how crazy the idea was, she still had to note it down. The only three official suspects were Godot, Franziska and Alita. She was on Franziska's side, and had planned everything planned out to clear her name.

Maya had to know how and why she was framed? What false evidence was planted to suggest Franziska was behind it and to see if there was any chance Godot was innocent. The easiest way to clear Franziska's name was to believe that Godot had murdered Thalassa. However, the easiest is not always the best. She had to sort out what was right and what was simple.

She saw Gumshoe sighing behind his car. His eyes seemed like he was out of space, which was strange for Gumshoe as he's always the one to show his determination to solve the case. She called out his name. No response. She marched over to him and patted his back. He jumped, gasped, then faced Maya.

"Hello there," he chuckled. "How's Franziska been?"

"She's seen better days," Maya admitted. "Poor Franny is petrified inside. I promised her that I would clear her name though."

"That's the spirit," Gumshoe said, smiling. "I've got some good news to. There was evidence to suggest Franziska hired Alita to kill Thalassa. They found a diary, a phone number a stun-gun: we can confirm the diary is a fake! The stun gun belonged to Manfred Von Karma but it was stolen from one of the lockers. The phone number written in the diary was a stripper. Ema's going to examine the finger prints, if none of them match Franziska, it's great news, pal!"

"Franziska will be cleared?" Maya asked. Gumshoe nodded. Maya grinned. "This is great news, but like any lawyer, I have to ask..."

"HOLD IT!" Gumshoe interrupted. "When did you become a lawyer?"

"I've been one for a very long time," lied Maya.

"... what?"

"Here's my badge to prove it!" Maya flashed "her" golden pin to Gumshoe. He widened his eyes and gasped again.

"Holy crap! That's awesome!"

"Now you're going to tell me about the murder?" Maya asked. "I know Franziska is going to be found innocent but just in case them fools try to take her to court."

"I'll ya everything you wanna know pal," Gumshoe announced. "Last night, the victim was killed in his car park. The estimated time of death is half ten. She was stabbed all over her body. Meanwhile Alita blackmailed Wocky by attempting to stab Pearl in the neck. Alita was also seen talking to fugitive Kristoph Gavin. We believe these two met after escaping prison."

Gumshoe passed Maya a photo of a tall man with blond hair passing a knife to Alita. If was Kristoph Gavin. She was sure of it.

"So why would they wanna team up and get revenge?" asked Maya.

"Kristoph and Alita were both convicted and exploited by Apollo. Kristoph's brother helped out too." Gumshoe told her. "Them two trials are stories that fend for themselves. I guess they wanted to attack Apollo by killing his mother."

"It makes sense," said Maya. "So are the police looking for Alita and Kristoph?"

"The police are hunting as we speak," Gumshoe announced. "We've found a fugitive named Edward Fartalot, we believe that he may help us with the case."

"So what about Godot?" asked Maya.

"He's the prime suspect now," Gumshoe said. "Won't be long until Franziska gets her name cleared."

"I'd like to think he's innocent too..."

"Well I bet his son is gonna help clear his name," Gumshoe announced. "We're all going to have to really work as a team if we want to lay Thalassa to rest."

Maya took a deep breath and sighed. "You're right Gumshoe. I want to talk to Nick soon, things are going to be really tough for him. Trucy's going to be so upset."

"You can go to him if you want?" Gumshoe said. "He could really do with a friend right now. You've got Franziska sorted. All you have to do it assure her it's fine and let us do our jobs."

"Thanks Gumshoe!" Maya said. She hugged him then ran away.

As she dashed to Phoenix's place, she wondered did she really solve this case alone? Was there a greater challenge to come? Proving Franziska innocent just seemed too easy, but it didn't mean that she expected it to happen. She was hoping he would be at home, with the family. She hoped they were coping.

She truly did.

At last, she reached Phoenix's department and banged on the door. She waited and got a slow response. The door swung open and her eyed widened. Phoenix resembled a zombie. His eyes were half open, his scruffy hair and clothes made him look like he had slept in a bin.

"Nick..." Maya asked. "Are you okay?"

"Not really," he admitted. "But it's nice to see you Maya."

"What's wrong?"

"Shit happens," said Phoenix. His eyes had been red as if he had been crying. "Come in."

Maya walked in and to her surprise, the house was tidy. Of course this was the work of Iris. If he was single the place would have been a lot worse. "I'm sorry to hear about Thalassa," Maya said.

"Thanks," said Phoenix. "I'm really going to need the support. Pearl came over earlier."

"She did?" Maya asked. "I haven't seen her since last night. Is she okay?"

"She's fine," Phoenix said. "She wanted my help on something."

"What was it?"

"She wanted to talk about Larry and Alita," Phoenix said. "She wanted to help track Alita down. She wanted my opinion of where Larry was hiding Alita. We managed to find it out. Larry had been hiding Alita in Harazuka Temple."

"Wow!" said Maya. " That would have been the last place I'd imagine her to be hiding."

"Larry's smarter than we thought he was," admitted Phoenix. He passed Maya a beige piece of paper stabled together and said, "Larry sent me this letter today."

Maya unfolded it and read it. The feminine patterns on the page were the first things that grabbed her eye. The wild writing layered on top had her shaking her head.

"Hello Nick!

I hope things are doing great out there! I'm so happy right now. This letter alone could never describe either the quality nor the quantity of my joy. I was always the happy monkey at school.

We've had great times. You're my best friend but I'm afraid this is where I have to say goodbye to you. You'll always be close to me by heart. We've done so much together and so much for each other. You've been there when I lost my jobs and girlfriends, but being a prison officer is my best job of all. I lasted longer than I ever did, and I found my true love.

You see all the pink polka dots, yellow flowers and glitter on this page. Aww it's so cute. Everything that's cute reminds me of Alita. She's one of the most beautiful women in the world. She's a survivor! She's had such a tough life, but now I'm going to give her the happy ending she deserves.

Alita confided in me about her deepest secrets that she never told. She told me all about her life. How she had to sin to find redemption and freedom. It's enough to make me cry. I loved her from the moment I saw, but when she broke down, it was painful to find it adorable. I gave her a big hug and she cheered up. All she wanted was a bit of love, which nobody around her was willing to give.

Alita had come from an abusive childhood. Her mother was a prostitute and her father was so addicted to food that she had to eat his own vomit or the crumbs on the floor. She was so skinny when I first met her, prison had reminded her of the time where she was locked up in the attic for three days when she was three.

When her dad died, her mother sold her like meat to some sick perverted doctor. Once he got locked up to grooming girls on the Internet, Alita was moved around foster parent after foster parent. She became confused, but once she settled in school, she really got drilled in class. She became a nurse, but she still wasn't happy. I know how she feels, some people can make you feel worthless at work.

Not to mention getting strangled all the time by Wocky. The scars still remain in her heart.

I know the media describe her as a bitch and a whore, but she isn't. She's a sweet person. She's been through so much. She never got a chance of a good life and when she tried, she ended up in jail for it. Everything was in self-defense. Her own employer went against her, and Wocky had abused her. I'm so worried that he's going to do the same to Pearl.

She might have said nasty things to Pearl but that;s because she's trying to show her the monster that he is. He tried to turn Alita into a monster and it almost succeeded. I'm glad she's under my care now. Alita will be treated like a goddess.

I'll tell you the truth, yes I did help her escape prison. If you were still a lawyer you probably would have found that out, but you're not, so I'm safe. Alita agreed with me as well, so that's a plus. Wocky tried to stop me letting Alita go, but I sorted him out. He would have been better off dead in my opinion. He needs to stop trying to add poison in my relationship with Alita.

Since hiding Alita, I gambled, robbed banks and cheated in the casinos. It was an excellent second income for the great pay I already get in prison. I would have got to stick around for longer, had I not lost my job yesterday. It's okay now, I'm packing up for the new adventure of my life with Alita.

Sorry I can't invite you to the wedding. By the time you've read this, I'd be a wanted fugitive. I took Alita to the casino one night, won a lot, asked her to marry me and she said yes. I believe I am the happiest man in the world right now. I'm not letting anybody lift me off the ground now. Happiness is a human right and not a privilege.

Wow I've written so much more than I expected: I could be a novelist. I've sold all my artwork now, so I've got all the money I need for a happy life. I'd love to have babies, but I don't think Alita's ready. She's still young. I guess we should wait until she is thirty, but I might accidentally get her pregnant way before then. never-mind, as long as we're together we'll be great. I have a feeling, Alita and I will both be legends. We will become the new Romeo and Juliet & Bonny and Clyde. Only unlike them we will have a happy ending and have brand new identities.

I hope you have a good life too, Nick. I'm sorry I can't make it to be the best man at your wedding. Miles or Apollo could always do it. Well I guess you wouldn't want to have Apollo as a best man after all the rumors that he slept with Trucy. I hope they're false: incest ain't good.

Give my regards to my sweet Iris, Maya, Franny and Gumshoe next time you see them.

Your friend forever,

The legendary Larry Butz. "

"Larry's been fed lies," Maya snapped. "How on earth could he fall for that rubbish Alita gave him."

"Reminds me of myself a long time ago with Iris and Dahlia," Phoenix admitted. "I was a mad boy in love."

"I guess you're still are," said Maya.

"Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision," Phoenix admitted. "I knew being a father wasn't going to be easy, but I didn't know it would be this hard! Apollo's had it rough too, I don't wanna ask questions that will destroy the entire family."

"Nick, you've done so well."

"Would you say that after I tell you this?


"Trucy had a miscarriage," announced Phoenix. "She didn't know she was pregnant either. I don't know what to do with her. She slept with Matt Engarde, now I dread to think who else she's slept with. These thoughts are making me sick."

Maya jumped over and hugged him. "Who cares what anybody else thinks," Maya whispered. "I know you're a good father. You guys will all need to talk it through and be honest."

"Apollo was covered in psyche locks," Phoenix told Maya. "I'm too scared to open them, because I won't like what I see."

"The truth can hurt," Maya said.

"Yeah," muttered Phoenix, "it does."

"We'll all get through it," Maya promised. "Even if we don't like the truth, it's going to come out soon." Maya bounced away from Phoenix and showed him the lawyer badge she stole him all those years ago. "Do you remember these?" Maya asked.

"Of course I do," replied Phoenix. He wiped his eyes and started coming his hair. "It's a lawyer's badge! I've got my new one in my room. Why do you have one? You're a lawyer too?"

"I'm defending Franziska in court if she goes on trial," replied Maya. "She was a bit shocked at first but she warmed up to it. We do love each other after all."

"That's cool," said Phoenix. "Congratulations on passing your exam. It was tougher than the first time I took it all them years ago."

"Thanks Nick," said Maya.

"When did you take the exam?"

"I didn't," Maya admitted. There was no point in lying. "I stole it after you handed it in."


"Because I needed something to remember you with," Maya said. "And I didn't want you to give up being a lawyer. But since Franziska got arrested, I found a need for it."

"You can keep it then," Phoenix said. "I've had this magatama of yours for years anyway. So what's it like being a lawyer?"

"It feels great," Maya responded. "It looks like Franziska is going to get cleared of murder."

"That's good news," Phoenix said. "Well done."

"Well I didn't really do much, Gumshoe did most of the work for me."

"Good old Gumshoe then."

"Anyway, it was nice to see you," said Maya. "I gotta go to the detention center again to visit Franziska."

"You take care," said Phoenix. "Thanks for coming."